Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2016

This article explains the grammar and writing style options that you can choose in the Grammar Settings dialog box for Word 2016 and Outlook 2016.

Note: July 19, 2016: When accessing the File > Options > Proofing > When correcting spelling and grammar in Word > Writing Style menu option in Word 2016, Grammar & Style is missing. We are aware of this issue and we plan to fix it in a coming update. When the update is available, we'll post here with information about how to get it.

For information on grammar and style settings for earlier versions of Office, see Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2013 and earlier.

Note:  If you are choosing options for text that's written in a language other than your language version of Word and Outlook, the options might vary.

Outlook

  1. Create or open an item.

  2. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  3. Click Mail, and then click Editor Options.

  4. Click Proofing.

  5. Under When correcting spelling in Outlook, click Settings.

Word

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.

  2. Click Proofing.

  3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, click Settings.

  • Capitalization in Titles    targets articles, short prepositions, and conjunctions that should be in lower case within titles. Example: "Of Mice And Men" is a novel would be corrected to "Of Mice and Men" is a novel.

  • Capitalization of Common Nouns    targets common nouns that should be capitalized when they refer to specific people, educational institutions, companies, government bodies, and other organizations. Example: He graduated from the university of Wisconsin would be corrected to He graduated from the University of Wisconsin.

  • Capitalization After a Comma    targets capitalized words that are preceded by commas. Example: Despite searching everywhere, He couldn't find his keys would be corrected to Despite searching everywhere, he couldn't find his keys.

Hyphenation suggests a hyphen to link modifying words if a noun modifier consists of more than one word. Example: Our five year old son is learning to read would be corrected to Our five-year-old son is learning to read. Also, the numerals "twenty-one" through "ninety-nine" are hyphenated.

  • Indefinite Article    targets the use of "a" before a word beginning with a consonant sound and "an" before a word beginning with a vowel sound. Example: We waited for at least a hour would be corrected to We waited for at least an hour.

  • Adjective Used Instead of Adverb    targets the use of “real” vs. “really”. “Real” is used to modify a noun, “really” to modify a verb. Example: He is driving real carefully would be corrected to He is driving really carefully.

  • Commonly Confused Words    targets words that require special attention because they sound similar and may have related meanings. They often represent different parts of speech (word classes) and have different sspellings. Example: Could you please advice me? would be corrected to Could you please advise me?

  • Comparative Use    targets the use of "more" and "most" with adjectives without comparatives. Don't use comparatives like more, most, less, or least with comparative adjectives. Example: This is more bigger than I thought would be corrected to This is bigger than I thought.

  • Too Many Determiners    targets certain determiners (articles, possessive pronouns, and demonstratives) that shouldn't be combined. Example: I gave her a the carrot could be corrected to I gave her a carrot.

Noun Phrases    targets number agreement within noun phrases to make sure the words within a single noun phrase agree in number (singular or plural). Example: I would like to buy this apples could be corrected to I would like to buy these apples or I would like to buy this apple.

  • Punctuation marks in succession   Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space between words. The rule will detect two or more successive punctuation marks that are either identical or different. Example: Mary,, still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language.

  • Semicolon Use    Targets the use of a semicolon instead of a comma in two related but independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction such as "and" or "but". Example: They don't have a discussion board, the website isn't big enough for one yet would be corrected to They don't have a discussion board; the website isn't big enough for one yet.

  • Comma Use    Targets a missing comma in front of an independent clause if the sentence begins with a conjunction "if" Example: If you're like me you've already seen this movie would be corrected to If you're like me, you've already seen this movie.

  • Comma After Introductory Phrases     Targets a missing comma after short introductory phrases such as "however" or "for example" before an independent clause that follows. Example: First of all we must make sure the power is off would be corrected to First of all, we must make sure the power is off .

  • Missing space before punctuation    Highlights the absence of a space expected before a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When one space is expected before a particular punctuation mark, but none is found, this rule suggests adding a space. Example: They were(about to leave) would be corrected to They were (about to leave). The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language.

  • Unexpected space before punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space before a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When no spaces are expected before a particular punctuation mark, but one is found, this rule suggests removing it. Example: Mary , still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos.

  • Unexpected space before and missing space after punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space before a punctuation mark and the absence of a space expected before a punctuation mark. When there is an unexpected space before a punctuation mark and a missing space after it, this rule suggests removing the unexpected space and suggests inserting the missing space. Example: Mary ,still wondering about the photos would be corrected to Mary, still wondering about the photos.

  • Missing space after punctuation    Highlights the absence of a space expected after a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When a space is expected after a particular punctuation mark, but none is found, this rule suggests adding a space. Example: He was up all night,and asleep all day would be corrected to He was up all night, and asleep all day.

  • Unexpected space after punctuation    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space after a punctuation mark. The set of punctuation marks for this option varies by language. When no spaces are expected after a particular punctuation mark, but one is found, this rule suggests removing it. Example: There are ( brackets) would be corrected to There are (brackets).

  • Unexpected space between words    Highlights the occurrence of an unexpected space between words This rule detects two spaces between words of a sentence, or between punctuation and words within a sentence. Example: The final date is November 18th would be corrected to The final date (is November) 18th.

Subject Verb Agreement    targets number agreement between subject and verb. The subject and verb should agree in number. They should either both be singular, or both be plural. Example: The teacher want to see him would be corrected to The teacher wants to see him.

  • Verb Form    targets the use of a correct verb form after an auxiliary verb. Example: They had ate by the time she arrived would be corrected to They had eaten by the time she arrived.

  • Verb Use    targets the use of "have" rather than "of" in constructions with modal auxiliaries such as could, can't, may, and will. Example: I could of known that would be corrected to I could have known that.

To restore the settings to their default states, in the Grammar Settings dialog box, click Reset All.

If you have feedback or suggestions about the spelling and grammar features, please post them here.

See also

Select grammar and writing style options in Office 2013 and earlier

Choose how spell check and grammar check work in Word 2016 for Mac

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2010 and later

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2007

Check spelling and grammar in Office 2016 for Mac

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